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Microsoft Flight Simulator News

Microsoft Flight Simulator Insider Update October 17 – Development Roadmap Updated

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The Microsoft Flight Simulator team has updated their blog with the latest news, which primarily focuses on the development roadmap for the next few weeks. Furthermore, the team provided a few other bits of clarity on the first tech-alpha application process.

Starting with the tech-alpha news re-cap, the first confirmed that the registration for the first round has now closed. Starting yesterday, and continuing through to the 24th October, successful applicants will receive an email. From the 24th, that’s when access will be provided to those successful. It’s worth noting that during the application process, users were told that they would likely have to sign an NDA, so don’t expect a flurry of video/imagery soon after that date and users will likely have to keep quiet about their involvement.

As for the development roadmap (DR), a few new items were revealed which should generate even more information than before. On October 24th, we will see the second in the discovery feature series. This time focusing on the sky. After that, the next biggest updates will follow in mid-November, which will see aerodynamics discussed, and also see the start of the “Partnership Announcement Series.” November will conclude with the final episode in their discovery series focusing on cockpits. In December, we will see more of the feedback snapshot information, along with general media updates. You can see the full DR below.

Finally, a statement from Microsoft was issued expressing their gratitude towards the fans for their overwhelming support since last week’s discovery series preview feature.

On behalf of the entire Microsoft Flight Simulator Team, we’d like to express our sincere appreciation to the community for all the valuable feedback we’ve received from the community on the first episode of the Feature Discovery Series. Though this is only our first step in our collaboration with you, the importance of this step to the team cannot be overstated. For all the feedback, all the effort spent writing comments, asking questions, daring to hold out hope when the past has been littered with unmet expectations. We hear you, and we are going to do our best to keep building this experience with you. In the meantime, thank you. It’s been a great boost to the team reading all the feedback from Lionel’s presentation on the world we’re building, which is big, in case you missed that.”

If you missed it, you can watch a 9-minute video on the world of Microsoft Flight Simulator, which highlights many of the new features coming to the simulator. Finally, be sure to check out our hands-on impressions with the pre-alpha demo or find out more about what the developers had to say in our video interviews.

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Tech Alpha 1 Applications for Microsoft Flight Simulator are now Closed

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As previously reported in the last Microsoft Flight Simulator update that can be read it here, today marks the end of registration for the Tech Alpha 1 build. The team at Microsoft has completed the recruitment process and has closed all applications.

If you didn’t sign up in time, no need to worry, Microsoft will open more application windows for Microsoft Flight Simulator in the future. You can check the Insider Section for the next available recruitment window. If you have already registered for Tech Alpha 1, Microsoft will be confirming your acceptance via email starting October 17 running through the 24th. After the 24th of October, Microsoft will begin providing access to the Tech Alpha 1 build for those who were accepted to the program. If you have signed up for Tech Alpha 1 and do not get accepted, your application will be automatically added to the next round of Tech Alpha build applications.

That’s all the news shared about Microsoft Flight Simulator at this time. Feel free to check out Microsoft’s entire Facebook post about Tech Alpha 1 here.

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Flight Sim Show 2019: Orbx Presentation Round-Up

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[This is a live article and we will continue to update as information and screenshots come in]

Orbx has just wrapped up their extremely lengthy presentation during Cosford 2019 and they announced a bunch of new airports, new partnerships and much more. Here is a break down of what they shared during their time here at Flight Sim Show 2019.

Alderney Airport EGJA

The airport is just a few weeks away from release and will be coming to X-Plane and Prepar3D. The airport, acquired originally from Earthsimulations, will have many Orbx improvements such as a fully remodelled airport, new texture work and much more.

TrueEarth US Northern California

Currently, the next TrueEarth region is in beta testing. Northern California will be home to many included landmarks which will be modelled in the usual Orbx standard. Still early in the testing phases but will keep us updated as progress is made.

TerraFlora for X-Plane

Originally from Turbulent Designs on Prepar3D, the tool will soon be coming to the world of X-Plane. TerraFlora is a tool that replaces tree auto-gen and other elements within the sim to create a more photorealistic appearance. No further information.

Tacoma Narrows Airport KTIW

Coming to X-Plane, the North American airport in the State of Washington will offer scenic views across the area and give pilots the chance to land at the airfield. No release dates.

Edinburgh Airport for X-Plane and Prepar3D

Developed by the in-house team, GayaSimulation, the airport is pre-beta with an estimated release in 4-weeks. Edinburgh airport, in Scotland, is home to various airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and also offers seasonal flights to other airlines, too. Coming to both X-Plane and Prepar3D v4.

Orbx + MilViz

Orbx will soon start to sell MilViz aircraft via Orbx Central. The entire MilViz range will come via the platform to make it easier than ever to download and install their catalogue of products. No specific time frame was given.

Orbx + Echo Papa Developments

The first aircraft to be delivered will be the Spitfire Mk XIV, built 100% by the book and with full PBR support and many beautiful details. More details to follow.

Orbx + Parallell 42

Initial release date missed partly due to feedback after Expo – will use the previously announced pricing and subscription model. You can read that in our previous article.

Sky Park Offline coming in November – limited functionality and dynamic areas, which will be unlocked via the online edition. This will launch afterwards in the future. The dynamic object environment is injected via this online platform and will require the subscription method.

You can read more in our dedicated post on The SkyPark.

Orbx Staffing Changes

Some changes to the staffing at Orbx were also confirmed. John Venema’s title will be Founder and CPO, with Anna Cicognani now the CEO of Orbx. Ed Correia will become the COO with Ben McClintock assigned the role of CIO.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

No new information right now, but they’re talking to Microsoft about it.

Final TrueEarth Announcement at the Presentation

Doing all Channel Islands from EarthSimulations.


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FSElite Attended Microsoft’s Flight Simulator Global Preview Event

Flight Simualtor 2020 Global Preview Event

When Microsoft’s recent blog post said that “the information you seek is much closer than you think”, I bet many of you didn’t think it would be just a few days after – and certainly not from a source other than Microsoft. This is why I am delighted to share the news that FSElite, along with other excellent people, had the exciting and exclusive opportunity to be the first-ever people to fly the new simulator from Microsoft.

Earlier this month, bags were packed, camera batteries were charged and flights were booked. FSElite were off to Seattle’s Renton Rainier Flight Service to speak to the developers behind the scenes, ask questions on the community’s behalf and get an extensive hands-on with the all-new simulator.

The day was packed and there was a huge amount of brand new information regarding the new sim. The Global Preview Event was broken down into a few activities.

  • 1.5 hours presentation from core developers of the Microsoft and Asobo teams
  • Group Interview with 6 developers (content creators)
  • One-on-one interviews (press and publications)
  • 60 minute flight around the Seattle area in a Cessna 172
  • 4-5 hours of hands-on time with the simulator itself – free to do and explore as we pleased

FSElite Content

As you can see we were kept incredibly busy throughout the whole day. Because of the huge wealth of information and content, we decided to split things up into various articles and videos which will be shared throughout the week. Here they are with when we will release them.

It’s not just FSElite who went and we’re keen to work with others who also got to experience the simulator. We feel it’s important that you have as many people’s opinions, thoughts, etc as possible so you get a well-rounded perspective of the event.

One of many new shots from the all-new Microsoft Flight Simulator (also known as FS2020 to the community). More in the numerous articles we have produced.

We are super excited to share with you all that we experienced at the event. All of the written content will give you a nice overview of all of the technical details such as how Bing Maps works, how the data-streaming will work and more. The hands-on is much more about my time actually using the simulator from aircraft handling, graphics, performance and the UI.

There is a lot of information to digest over the next week, so please take your time absorbing it all.

One of the smaller tidbits, but equally important, is the fact this title isn’t called Flight Simulator 2020. No year has been attached and should simply be referred to as Microsoft Flight Simulator. Don’t be confused as this is still the same title you’ve been referring to as FS2020, nor does it mean it won’t release in 2020, as it will.

For now, please do enjoy all of the content which has been put together for you all. It’s an exciting time for the whole community.

Important Links

Hands-On with Microsoft Flight Simulator

Technical Overview for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator Developer Interview – Episode 1: World and Weather

[Premier – live on October 1st @ 16:00z] Microsoft Flight Simulator Developer Interview – Episode 2: Aerodynamics and Cockpit

[Premier – live on October 2nd @ 16:00z] Microsoft Flight Simulator Developer Interview – Episode 3: Community Engagement

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An Overview of the Technical Details for the New Microsoft Flight Simulator

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When hearing that I would be part of a group of people who would be “the first people in the world going hands-on” with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, I was thrilled and scared at the same time. Thrilled knowing that I was about to experience something new and exciting. Scared, because I was worried I would walk away disappointed. If you haven’t already read my hands-on, then I suggest you do, and you’ll be pleased to know that I left incredibly impressed. Whilst my hands-on (hopefully) will give a detailed look at my actual playtime, this article is geared more towards the technical side of things.

During the exclusive Microsoft Flight Simulator global preview event, guests were given a presentation which lasted well over an hour giving a detailed look into the technology powering the simulator and what to expect when the simulator releases in 2020.

A few things to be aware of before you go in too deep. Screenshots and video were originally captured at 4K, but we have scaled them down here. You can view the screenshots in their original form in our media library here. Videos and screenshots were captured from a September 2019 build. Any information you see here was given to us by Microsoft and Asobo Studios developers and representatives. It is correct at the time of the event (September 2019).

To deliver the introduction to the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator, took to the stage. After showing off some new footage, he immediately said that “[the team] is trying hard to bring something new to the table […] and some new innovations that really drive flight simulation forward.” He went onto say that the Flight Simulator franchise has always stood for three things: Realism, accuracy and authenticity of flying. As for why it took Microsoft so long to get back involved with the franchise, they needed to wait for the right combination to really advance those three core concepts. That combination is enabled by three key things: technology, great partnerships and a great development team.

The technology driving Flight Simulator started from a previous Microsoft project called HoloTour. With this technology, you could visit three places in the world. This then led the team to consider if this could be done for the whole planet. The team started with Seattle by gathering lots of data and information. Jorg then spoke about how when he showed off Seattle with a Cessna 172 to Phil Spencer (Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft) he asked: “why are you showing me a video of Seattle?” When Jorg turned the plane in the demo, that was the moment it all came together for Microsoft.

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Hands-On With the New Microsoft Flight Simulator

Msfs Hands On

Let me get this out of the way immediately. This is a Flight Simulator. There is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft’s latest entry in their longest-running series (it’s older than Windows) will be the simulator many of you have been dreaming off. Highly detailed scenery, gorgeous weather effects and no restrictions on where in the world you can go. Forget everything that happened with Microsoft Flight (Microsoft sure did with their lack of reference to the game during the press event), as this is a simulator. They made it clear in their recent blog entries, but after trying it, my mind is now at rest. It’s worth noting that what I played earlier this week was a pre-alpha build. Despite that, I am confident in saying that this will be the next generation of flight simulation.

Before you read on, grab a pen, paper and 5 minutes of time. Write down a list of features you would love to see in a simulator. After speaking to many of you online, at events and in other capacities, I’m sure that many of you will list the following as some of those fundamental features:

  • Taking advantage of new hardware and technologies
  • Ability to explore the world in high-quality detail
  • Dynamic and detailed weather systems in real-time
  • Sloped runways
  • Detailed default airports
  • Detailed default aircraft
  • A brand-new aerodynamics engine
  • Third-party support
  • Ability for cockpit builders to continue building their systems
  • Solid performance

That’s a fairly ambitious list by anyone’s standards. However, that hasn’t stopped either Microsoft nor Asobo Studios from tackling this momentous task. Whilst you can read more about the features and technical aspects of this new simulator in this article, I wanted to also break down my hands-on experience with Microsoft Flight Simulator. All of those bullet points were part of my wish-list for a new simulator, so of course, they are what I will be focusing on during this hands-on.

My First Flight

My initial thoughts for the day were that Microsoft was going to be extremely restrictive in what we could do with the new simulator. To that end, I was incredibly pleased when, actually, the whole world was immediately open for me to explore. Like any good simmer, the first location I loaded up was my home airport, Bristol (EGGD), in the UK. Loading up the default included Cessna 172, I took off runway 27 and banked to the left to head towards the A38 road and follow it all the way to the city centre. Now, I am fully aware that exploring Bristol will not be the first thing everyone will do, nor will it show off the capabilities of the new simulator. But I was very keen to try out the Bing Maps technology which will power the world of the new Flight Simulator, which was so prevalent during their technical presentation (which you can read more about here).

The city of Paris as represented in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

I was able to follow the road all the way to Bristol pretty easily, with many distinguishing points of interest all along the way. From small town houses to larger town shops and flats. Whilst the buildings didn’t display as much detail as the focus cities, they were accurately placed overlaid the high-resolution Bing Maps orthoimagery. Whilst not exact replicas, the Azure technology was in place to automatically inject accurate buildings where there was a lack of data. This certainly helped create an immersive environment more impressive than anything seen in a flight simulator before. There was certainly a feeling of familiarity as I cruised around in the Cessna over my home city, with train stations visible below, plenty of cars and traffic filling the streets and more. During the clear skies, finding my way over recognisable parks, housing estates and local amenities meant finding my old house was incredibly easy. I could even see my garden where I spent many hours watching planes fly overhead. It was an odd, but exciting sensation to see on a PC screen.

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Microsoft Flight Simulator (FS2020) – September 26th Update: Feature Discovery Series Preview

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Microsoft continue to deliver on their regular Thursday updates (and earlier than usual, too) with a new update via their Microsoft Flight Simulator blog. The new update was brief and focused on introducing the new discovery series, which will focus on various elements that all community members are desperate to know more about. The blog also shared an updated time table on the development roadmap. Microsoft has moved the Feedback Pipeline post for early October to ensure there is more breathing room between posts.

As for you Insiders, the first Feature Discovery Series preview trailer was shown off. The short teaser clip gives you just a few extra looks at what to expect once the full Feature Discover series for the world is released on October 10th 2019. The trailer is available for Insiders via the Microsoft Flight Simulator blog. Furthermore, a brief update was made on that we can expect an update on Tech Alpha recruitment in early October, along with a new date for the Feedback pipeline overview. We grabbed a few screenshots from the trailer, but its best to watch it yourself.

Don’t forget that you can sign up now to (hopefully) be invited to the Alpha Tech testing team.

Finally, the post concluded by Microsoft thanking the community for their patient. Here’s the full statement:

“Finally, as we bring September to a close the entire team would like to thank everyone out there patiently waiting for more granular information on the next iteration of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The information you seek, is much closer than you think.”


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Microsoft Releases September 12th Dev Update

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True to their roadmap, Microsoft has opened up the application process for the Technical Alpha testing group.

After logging into the Insider Program at their official site you will be given a series of questions set to gauge your involvement in flight simulation, how much you use simulators, and other demographic questions – likely so Microsoft can have a well rounded testing pool.

For those who register but are not initially chosen, fear not as Microsoft has said that there will be multiple waves of testers brought on board.

Following the roadmap, there are several items of note coming up this month.

On September 19th the technical alpha timeline will be released, along with another media update.

September 26th will see yet another media update, an overview of the feedback pipeline, a general update to the development roadmap, along with the news many have been waiting for: the Feature Discovery series.

This series will consist of four parts which will go into more depth about what changes you will see in the world, weather, aerodynamics and cockpits.

Along with the new roadmap, four new videos were made available to Insiders. We took some screencaps of them below, but to watch them all, you will have to head to the Insider page.

We’ll continue to keep you updated with the latest from Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020 as it happens.

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Flight Simulator 2020 August 29th Update – New Previews, Videos and More


Microsoft has issued the August 29th update via the Flightsimulator.com blog. The new information regarding Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 includes 2 brand new screenshot previews as well as 3 new videos to look over. Let’s start with the new screenshots.

Along with the new previews, the team has also released an updated development roadmap image, which highlights when we can expect certain things in the coming weeks. In particular, it’s interesting to note that Tech Alpha sign-ups will start on September 12th. Via the Insider area, is was confirmed that “Users will be able to access the signup link from the Insider Area, fill out a brief survey regarding machine spec, and be entered into the recruitment pool.” Sign-ups are due to then close at the end of September.

Furthermore, 3 brand new teaser videos was also shared via the Insider Area. One of them showed off a panning shot of a large body of glistening water as the camera revealed a rather cloudy looking area. Another showed off some aerobatics in the sky from the cockpit whilst rain came hard onto the windshield, whilst the third took place during dusk over Aspen. You can view them on the Insider Area.

Finally, Microsoft said that the next update will be delivered on September 12th – the same date as to when the Tech Alpha sign-ups will begin. It was also confirmed that the updates are looking to be delivered earlier on in the day starting in September.

As always, be sure to check out last week’s brief update, as well as the update issued on August 15th.

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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 August 22nd Update – New Previews

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The most recent blog update for Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020 is now live and it came with a few new previews of the simulator from previous builds. The brief update was kept intentionally short as they prepare a much more in-depth post for next week. These previews were left on the Insider Page, but for those looking to get that news first can simply sign-up. No email confirmation or acceptance message will be sent – all you need to do is sign-up and then login.

The new previews above are from various builds in the past few months. They show off

  • [1] Australia
  • [2] Canyon (unspecific region)
  • [3] Grand Canyon

Along with the previews, Microsoft also gave a high-level overview of what we can expect from Third-Party developer announcements over the coming months. The first reveal of plans and partners will happen in October. However, Microsoft did share that they will are currently going through 3 phases, two of which are already in progress.

  • Phase 1 – Outreach and Engagement (in-progress)
  • Phase 2 – Code and Content Integration (in-progress)
  • Phase 3 – Content Release Timeline (kick-off)

In a seemingly philosophical way, Microsoft also confirmed that one of the most requested features for Flight Simulator to have will be coming to Flight Simulator 2020. Sloped and curved runways will be a feature of the new simulator.

The next update will fall on August 29th 2019.

If you’re after more Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 news, then check out our analysis video of the previous update, which includes footage from Flight Simulator 2020.


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